Skip to main content

Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

See other formats


ALEXAKDEB, VON  HUMBOLDT.                121
rises to a height of 4500 to 4800 feet, was extremely
remarkable, as much for its extent, as for its direction
in the meridian, which was in a line standing perpen-
dicularly tipon the equator from the pole, and which
reminded Hnmboldt of a similar situation of the chain
of Andes which he had explored in America* These
Ural formations—beginning on the sea of Aral, with
so-called tertiary formations,* and extending to the
greenstone rock on the Arctic sea—contain gold and
j>latiua in their northern and central portions, princi-
pally where alluvial deposits predominate. This cir-
cumstance xirged Humboldt to especially interesting
inquiries, and he gained, spite of his short stay of four
weeks, such important results, and new disclosures on
the composition and formation of the gold and plati-
num contained in alluvial soil, he discovered such alarge
quantity of new minerals, and made sxich highly im-
portant observations on the relative positions of the
various rocky formations, that we should be more sur-
prised if we did not know Humboldt's unwearying
industry, and his uirusual and practised talent for
observation.
When, he had visited the malachitef pits of Zume-
sclxefskoi, the remarkable magnetic xnoLintam, Bla-
gotlacl, and the famed deposits of topaz and barytes,
near Mursdnsk; after he had found a piece of pure
platinum, weighing more than eight kilogrammes^
Bear Nischnei-Tigilsk, a district which reminded him
of Choco, in South America; and when he had, be-
sides this, fixed the astronomic position of several
localities, and made several magnetic and altitude
measurements, he continued his journey from Jekath-
* By this Is understood the strata of earth lying "beneath the
Buporficial layers of more modern times, and which consist of tipper
peat,, of coarse lime, and of lower peat.
f Malachite is carbonated oxide of copper. It is generally met wilib
In veined radiating groups ; is of silky metre, and of a fine emerald
grooii colour. It sometimes also occurs in coarse, earthy ma&ses,
and wyntallizeB in irregular rhomboidal cones.
$ A. kilogramme is nearly equal to two pounds six drachms.